Cassano: Ohio State University Assault Highlights Value of Armed Campus Police in Connecticut
Monday’s assault at Ohio State University—in which a suspected terrorist rammed his car into students and then assaulted them with a butcher knife before being shot dead by police—has prompted state Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) to remind the public and higher education officials that six months ago, Connecticut approved a new law that allows community and technical colleges in Connecticut to maintain armed police forces to confront such an event (Public Act No. 16-154).
“Monday’s incident at OSU is the type of horrific campus violence that we have seen played out in different ways and at different times but still with frightening regularity across America over the past decade, and these types of attacks are exactly the reason why I worked so hard to get armed, certified police on our community college campuses in Connecticut,” said Sen. Cassano, who began lobbying for the option of having armed police forces on community college campuses several years ago. “If you don’t have a trained police force willing to respond essentially immediately to these types of incidents, we are going to continue to see innocent people killed on our college campuses. My hope is that we never have to use deadly force, but if we do, we will be prepared.”
On Monday, a student at Ohio State University intentionally rammed his car into pedestrians on a busy campus sidewalk and then began slashing passers-by with a butcher knife, injuring 11 students and faculty and staff members. A university police officer fatally shot the suspect within about a minute of the attack. Investigators are looking into whether the attack was an act of terrorism.
According to the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City report “Aiming at Students: The College Gun Violence Epidemic” (October 2016), between 2001 and 2015, the number of shooting incidents on U.S. college campuses increased 153 percent, while the number of casualties increased 241 percent (www.nycrimecommission.org).
“If you are a student at a state community college, or the parent of a student, or an employee, I want you to know that there is an option available to college administrators to enhance your safety,” Sen. Cassano said. “Every decision about whether to train and maintain an armed campus police force will be an individual one, but you should know that the option is there.”